Psychologists say the “normalization of violence” in the Balkans has become so dangerous that major changes are needed in all areas of society to avoid further mass shootings.
Serbia has declared a three-day state of mourning until next Sunday. mass shooting At school – for the first time in the country. A 13-year-old boy shot dead eight of his students (seven girls and one boy) and a security guard at a primary school in the center of the capital Belgrade.
According to Belgrade police chief Veselin Milic, he called the police himself from the school courtyard after injuring six other students and a teacher, saying: “I am a psychopath and I need to calm down.” I told you.
Milic said the suspect had two of his father’s guns from the safe at home and knew how to use them because he had participated in target shooting with his father. He also carried four Molotov cocktails in his backpack.
The suspect’s motive is still unknown. Authorities said the student had been planning the attack for a month. He had a list of students he planned to kill and a map of the classroom showing the plan to carry out the attack.
“The sketches look like something out of a video game or a horror movie. They’re detailed,” Milich told reporters Wednesday.
After the shooting, the Serbian Educators’ Union announced a strike and called for an end to promoting violence in the country.
“We demand a ban on the publicity and public appearances of all convicted criminals and all reality shows in which participants behave violently,” their statement read.
“We live in a society where aggression and violence are ubiquitous. Verbal, media, physical…it has reached its peak not only in schools, but in society as a whole. As a society, as a country, we are a failure. “Serbia needs to stop and ask itself how far we’ve come and where and how we should go.”
The union also called for metal detectors to be installed at school entrances, professional security guards to be hired, and school police to be better organized.
A day after a school shooting, as the country reels from tragedy, a 21-year-old man shot the pedestrian from his car Eight people were killed and 14 injured in rural areas south of Belgrade.
Serbian public broadcaster RTS reported that the suspect, Uros Bradžić, told prosecutors during his post-arrest interrogation that he personally shot people he did not know because he wanted to sow fear among the residents.
“Normalization of Violence”
Psychologist Marina Nadejin Simic told Al Jazeera that the school shooting was a “dangerous frontier” for the country.
“We have crossed all lines and need to take violence seriously at a statewide level,” she said.
“Unfortunately, in our society, violence is everywhere around us and it is tolerated. Some children feel very unwell.
Adding to the problem, “many kids do more online than they do in the real world,” Nadejin Simic said, leading to underdeveloped emotional and social skills.
“As we grow and mature, we must go through a process of socialization … learning how to communicate with others, learning how to fulfill our wishes without harming others. There are many ways to resolve conflicts, violence is not the solution. I don’t know enough about Violence Prevention has completely failed,” said Nadejn Simic.
Many people accuse TV shows (such as the popular reality show Zadruga) of promoting verbal and physical violence, including gender-based violence.
After the school shooting, Serbian TV channel Happy featured convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj on a show to share his thoughts on the tragedy. Seselj has been convicted of war crimes by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and is a common guest on the show.
In the past few years, the show has also aired hilarious conversations with former Serbian general and convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic. Ratko Mladic called as a guest from The Hague, where he is imprisoned, and sent his ‘kiss’ to the team as their ‘grandpa’.
“There are situations where an interview is being conducted on TV, and the guest is a man who has been convicted of a crime many times.
“And he comes and shares his story, his life goals, etc., and young people see this. [another way]? ”
“We are not offering real value to young people. That is the problem. [values] And these kids are in a vacuum. These children have no orientation. ”
Shortly after the school shooting, Serbian media also reported that some young people were praising the attack on social media.
“You are the strongest,” one girl wrote on her Instagram story with a heart emoji over the suspect’s photo.
“King” is when another kid overwrote the suspect’s photo on his Instagram story.
Other comments on Instagram included, “What’s the kill count,” “8/0/0, he’s got a good score,” and “8 kills, nice.”
Clinical psychologist Blanca Kordic told Al Jazeera that young people are growing up in “unhealthy environments” because society gives them “everything wrong”.
“Civil morals — honor, respect, and concern for others — don’t exist. It’s a lie, cheating everywhere you go, and kids grow up with this,” she said.
“It is enough for children to see our parliament. [MPs] Spitting, shouting insults, kids watching this and horrible reality TV shows. And ask yourself how this happened. Amazing that it didn’t happen right away. ”
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced the disarmament of Serbia. In a series of new measures announced on Friday, he said that everyone who legally owns a weapon — hundreds of thousands — will go through the reforms, and eventually 30,000 will have a weapon. It said it would be ~40,000.
He added that 1,000 police officers would be placed in schools and penalties for illegal weapons would be nearly doubled.
Kordic said out of all the measures announced, there were no offending show bans.
“Like Zadrouga, a horrific, repulsive reality show will be on the air…What is the point of controlling weapons when you are raising children who fall short of the standards of human dignity?” Cordic said.
“Teachers have been saying, ‘I don’t know how to deal with aggressive kids.’ Everyone needs help, but help is coming from nowhere. Everything is political.” It’s been hardened,” Kordic said.
Cordick suggested that all schools have a space for students to ask for help and learn how to process emotions such as anger and sadness.
When young people have problems, they usually turn to peers first, not adults. She said it would be helpful to create a pilot program where children can meet each other and have a space that “is trained to serve as a first helping hand and a bridge to professional help.” .
Nadejin Simic said the Serbian education system needs reform and the health system needs to pay more attention to the mental health of young people.
“Television programs and broadcasts of highly problematic people saying all sorts of things and offering war heroes offer a dangerous value to society – not undesirable, but dangerous – these “We have to work on everything,” she said.
“But I think it needs to be done at the state level. Individual efforts don’t do much.”